Geoff Koury

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walk with dog

hand-press substrates
wool-fullness makes
bundled sweater-ripe
warm beneath night

tactility that guides
faculties to pleasure
snug-laced upon ground
sock-tight bound

step soft-pressured
tread trace-measured
rime encrusting leaves
crackle-bright and brittle

low-hung sky where little
cloud-breaths die
our voiceless throat-escaped
starlight-pierced and scraped

© Geoffrey Koury 2015

Geoff lives in Northern VA and facilitates a monthly poetry group for the Arlington County Public Library.

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Tom Kirlin

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Cherry Tree
to JCK

All day long the red-mouthed sun
kissed & kissed the cherry tree.

Willow, light, leaf—all faint—
leaves faint, planting deaf feet

branch, bark, tree—all spin to sleep.
Oh beloved, oh fallen ones, do you not

see beneath ice sheets how earth breathes?
Have you not watched geese plow

the corn-silk sky, veer far beyond hills
of grief to nestle, cold, on water, relieved?

Lamentations of swans wreath the empty sky.
Below, fish listen for it, one eye to the moon;

white as any beach, snow owls dream of it
of lightning—for nothing, nothing suffers darkness

in peace: snow branch bud water geese cloud
all dream, you & I dream, you, rising tree

all winter long, you stood naked before me—
for what? Not to greet swans; not to see distant geese

no—you grow your own green eden, day after day
knowing the red-mouthed sun kissed & kissed the cherry tree.

from Under the Potato Moon
Little Red Tree Publishing, LLC, 2013

Tom Kirlin is a lapsed farmer, iambic fundamentalist and reluctant transcendentalist. He lives in Washington, D C and won the Larry Neal Award for poetry. Under the Potato Moon, a 2013 first book of poems, was sponsored by the William Meredith Foundation.

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Marion Deutsche Cohen

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When I was pre-seventh grade
and my parents always told me where to go next
and my teacher’s praise was the highest to aspire to
and my Aunt Faygie was like a grandma
(Grandma was also like a grandma)
and nothing was a matter of popular —
when I wasn’t even a little bit coming of age —
what season was it?

Quick answer: it was spring.
Oh, I well remember the extremes
the white season, building an almost-finished snow fort in the backyard
ice skates that never quite fit
and usually not really wanting to go outside, anyway
but warming feet in my mother’s oven followed by the reward of playing indoors

and the yellow season, going swimming in Watchung Lake as exciting as a birthday
buzzing fireflies and tiger lily fireworks
no school
Frances knocking on the side door at 9:00 PM, ready to go out and play
and my mother with her heart condition and no air-conditioning

and the brown season, leaves in gutters piled higher than they are now
falling into those leaves, just heavy enough, never hitting the concrete
crunching those dead leaves with my hands and feet
and my sister’s Back to School birthday party.

But mostly it was the green season.
Zinnias in my mother’s garden, the lawn mower for my father
kickball in the front yard, badminton in the back
the Sheridan Avenue gang sitting on the porch, sometimes with kittens
bird noises in the early morning like tears of happiness.

Yes, throughout my childhood the season was spring.
Spring was the average.
Spring was the default.
Everything else being equal, it was spring.

© Marion Deutsche Cohen 2015

Marion Deutsche Cohen’s latest poetry book is Lights I Have Loved (Red Dashboard Press, NJ), and her latest memoir is Still the End: Memoir of a Nursing Home Wife (Unlimited Publishing, IN), which is the sequel to her earlier memoir, Dirty Details: The Days and Nights of a Well Spouse (Temple University Press, PA). Her books total 24, including the forthcoming Closer to Dying (WordTech Editions) and Crossing the Equal Sign (Plain View Press, TX), about the experience of mathematics. She teaches math at Arcadia University in Glenside PA, where she has developed the course Truth and Beauty: Mathematics in Literature.

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Joan McNerney

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Frost snaps
crinkles, eases,
finally melts.
Gaunt trees
dressed in fragile

Fragile buds, sun
splash, rain splash,
splash blue, splash

Green new leaf. Fits
my hand so perfectly.
The future lies
in my palm.

© Joan McNerney 2015

Joan McNerney’s poetry has been included in numerous literary magazines such as Camel Saloon, Seven Circle Press, Dinner with the Muse, Blueline, Missing of the Birds, and included in Bright Hills Press, Kind of A Hurricane Press and Poppy Road Review anthologies. She has been nominated three times for Best of the Net, and Poet and Geek recognized her work as their best poem of 2013.  Four of her books have been published by fine small literary presses.

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Marian Kaplun Shapiro

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Around here, March

Note to viewers: in order to preserve the formatting of this poem, I had to attach it as a PDF. Simply click on the title to read the poem.

At the beginning, as the story goes, Marian was a musician, learning to sing a wordless Star Spangled Banner from her draft-dodging ironic father before she could walk. Later, still a musician, she married, becoming Marian Kaplun Shapiro, and received her doctorate in psychology. She practices as a Quaker and psychologist, imbedding one within the other. She is the author of a professional book, Second Childhood (Norton, 1988), a poetry book, Players In The Dream, Dreamers In The Play (Plain View Press, 2007) and two chapbooks: Your Third Wish, (Finishing Line, 2007); and The End Of The World, Announced On Wednesday (Pudding House, 2007). She was five times named Senior Poet Laureate of Massachusetts, and was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2012.

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Dave Lego

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timed passage

go out in the field with that
helmeted Go-Pro and press the button,
not that little clearing beside the building
but the field as wide as it is far, far out

look up and stream the dark washed sky
times elapsed in fusioned milky light
watch it arc across the chilled, stubbled field
the cold sparks beautifully splayed across

turn it over now – a bit further, roll over,
refocus, look down close at the loam laid on
set the time-lapse for lengthening days
and watch your shadow pass below you

see the seed casing crack open and
seedlings rise to first season of life
toward the now brightened sky above
listen to the cells elongate springing

against gravity to push away to up, up
sit up, or stand and raise the gaze farther
the slow pan of growth, Jacked up stalk through
sky and clouds to see what’s so big up there

© Dave Lego 2015-03-11

Dave is a foundering member of a cerebral society and proud beyond means of recognition, of contributions to ineffectual studies both domestic and foreign; he brings to his efforts a simplicity that hints at his thought processes while belying extensive training. He lives near the coast in Middling.

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Robert L. Giron

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Note to viewers: in order to preserve the formatting of this poem, I had to attach it as a PDF. Simply click on the title to read the poem.

Robert L. Giron is the founder and publisher of Gival Press, an award-winning independent literary press established in 1998, which has published over 62 titles of fiction and poetry by both emerging and established authors. He is also the editor of the online journal ArLiJo, The Sligo Journal, and past poetry editor of Potomac Review. He has written five collections of poetry, has co-edited an award-winning collection on women’s studies and has edited two award-winning anthologies of poetry, Poetic Voices Without Borders 2, the most recent. A resident of Arlington, Virginia, he also teaches at Montgomery College in Maryland.

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Liz Fortini

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A breath of spring

you come in the morning
from the mantle of night
in evergreen tang
beckon from my rose window

you lead me to the wayside
where I inhale sweetness
crossing into the present
I capture your sighs
now you are mine

you complete the whistle in the wind
fulfill my nightingale’s song
through unpopulated stretches
in the mid-afternoon pause

I will never walk alone

when evening is done
your baby’s breath
lingers at my table
murmurs to the fading glow
of my bedside sconce

wake me by your jonquil sentinel
at the gate of passing winter
it holds this day
and quiets down
until the last bloom
exhales into summer

Liz translates her poetry into French, Italian and has started to translate into German. She also translates noted poets as A. Rimbaud, Mario Luzi and Eugenio Montale. Liz resides in Pleasanton, California. “A breath of spring”  first appeared in Las Positas College Literary Anthology, March 2005

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Bill Lord

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First to Bloom

The warm storms of March are cruel,
Seeding tulips that bloom a month too soon,
Shouting in the shadow of a groundhog,
“Is this the beginning or the end?”

Are we those primitive flowers?
Erupting sun-bound from the fertile earth –
And will we stretch our long thin necks
To let our nascent faces shine?

Will we rejoice too early – fools of April –
Waking to the strangeness of an empty Eden,
Only to be cast out by bitter frost,
And die before the fullness of a bee-loud spring?

© 2015 Bill Lord

Bill Lord is an adjunct faculty member at Northern Virginia Community College, where he teaches Composition and Literature. When he is not teaching, Bill spends a ridiculous amount of time grading papers with his cat, Leonidas; when he isn’t doing that, Bill drives for Uber so he can pay his rent; when he isn’t doing that, Bill sings, and plays guitar and keyboards in a classic rock cover band with his brother, who sings and plays drums. If there’s any time left, Bill writes down whatever fragments of fiction and poetry he can scrape out of his big, round head. This is Bill’s second submission to the 30 for 30 project.

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Joy Mar

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in a variety of colors, its blooms
surprisingly easy to grow
in dappled shade, partial sun
zones 3 to 9, best for show.

Until its second season,
this biennial will not flower.
Letting nature take its course,
fall-planted seeds eventually shower.

Meadows, woodlands, high altitudes
clinging to rocks up to 10,000 feet
where rugged mountain climbs
offer a trailside alpine treat.

Spurred petals of diversity
ever-changing cell shape
not by size, nor in number
morphological evolution make.

By indigenous Americans eaten
with other fresh greens, as condiment,
safe when consumed in quantities small,
very sweet and heaven-sent.

Those who enjoy over extended time
are transformed by medical cure.
Those who quickly devour,
its toxins cannot endure.

Aquilegia, for the eagle’s claw.
Columbine, Latin for “dove”.
Of the buttercup family, sadly,
symbolic of deceitful love.

Though these flowers, symbols
of ingratitude, faithlessness be,
they appear gentle, lovely
and ever-so hopeful to me.

Whether it clings to hillsides
catching rays of mid-day sun
or dances with garden breeze
enjoying its wind-blown fun,

it embraces life’s hope
through nurturing soil it finds
and blossoms brightly in sun,
this Columbine of God’s design.

© Joy Mar 2015

Southern-born, Joy now makes her home in New England. Her poems explore the many facets of life, including her and broader humanity’s place and challenges within it.

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